NEW YORK—The emergence of online refractions and low-cost portable devices for measuring and tracking visual performance has ushered in the era of consumer-driven vision care. Steven Lee, OD, MBA, an entrepreneur with a medical and engineering background, and Amel Youssef, OD, from Acuitis in Las Vegas and New Jersey, discussed how innovative products, from the Apple Watch to Fitbit—and in the vision care field, EyeQue—are enabling health-conscious consumers to monitor their wellness. These products and other devices are helping patients to capture and analyze their biometric data which they can then share with health care professionals.

Dr. Amel Youssef (l) and Dr. Steven Lee discussed how innovative products are enabling health-conscious consumers to monitor their wellness.

Dr. Youssef, a successful practitioner and experienced researcher, noted that Apple has sold $195 million worth of its watches. She said she believes eyecare practitioners will miss “a golden opportunity” if they don’t find ways to work with patients who wear consumer health trackers and make use of the data these devices produce.

Speaking of EyeQue VisionCheck, a handheld device that lets consumers measure their nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism themselves, she said that it helped her practices with patient acquisition. “You can give it to a school nurse which can result in extra referrals, and you can have the patient take it home. Once you have refractive patients, they can monitor their own status, especially when you’re speaking about hyperopic monovision patients that have quite a bit of fluctuations, or diabetic patients or macular degeneration patients. For the price per unit, I think it’s an excellent way to keep your patients engaged.”

Dr. Lee said he has done a lot of analysis of different vision care technologies, both hardware-based and software-based solutions. “I think what practitioners really need to do first and foremost is just try the solutions out themselves,” he stated. “I’ve met practitioners who talked about a certain type of device out there and have a certain opinion, but yet they never tried it. That’s really eye opening,” he remarked.